Cucumber Hummus Boats

Hummus is a great, high protein vegan spread, but all that health can take a wrong turn when you pair it with a Costco sized bag of pita chips (I am very much singling out my boyfriend here).
For a light snack or app that looks festive, make these simple cucumber hummus boats. They are easy to make and the combo of creamy hummus and crispy crunchy cucumbers is on point. Any type of hummus or really any type of dip/spread will do for that matter. I’ve used sriracha hummus, black bean dip and more and they all work great!

Ingredients:
2 cocktail cucumbers
2 tablespoons hummus of choice
4 cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

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Directions:
Slice cucumbers in half and using a small spoon or grapefruit spoon, remove seeds to create a boat like shape.
Scoop a half tablespoon of hummus into each cucumber half and spread evenly.
Slice cherry tomatoes and place on top of hummus.
Sprinkle each cucumber boat with ¼ teaspoon of sesame seeds.

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5 Minute Tofu Cabbage Roll-Ups

This recipe is another one of my more idea recipes than an actual step by step one. I end up making these a lot actually either for a snack or dinner when I am in a pinch. I generally go for the spicy route but you can use whatever seasonings you desire. Get creative with your marinade or make it easy for yourself and use a store bought sauce such as teriyaki or BBQ. I also like to place my filling in cabbage leaves but feel free to use taco shells or wraps!

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Ingredients:
Tofu
Marinade: I used 1 tablespoon siracha, ¼ teaspoon each of chili powder, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder, ½ tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste with salt and pepper to taste
Cabbage leaves
Salsa/pico de gallo/vinegar based slaw
Optional: additional vegetables, seeds or herbs for topping

Directions:
Mix together marinade ingredients into a bowl. Once fully whisked, crumble tofu into the bowl with the marinade. Toss to coat and let sit for at least 10 minutes in the fridge. For added crispiness, you can add almond flour or an other flour of choice into the mixture for a more “breaded” texture.
Spray a sauté pan with coconut oil and once heated, place marinated tofu into the pan. Using a wooden spoon, continuously mix around the tofu so it does not stick to the pan. You want the tofu to brown and become crispy.
Once complete, remove tofu from pan and place desired amount in lettuce cups. Top with sauce and veggies of choice.

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Served with salmon wrapped asparagus and garlic toast topped with bruschetta

Grain-less Pumpkin Cake Muffins

With Halloween tomorrow, I thought I would step up my pumpkin game and create some yummy muffins. Nothing screams this holiday’s signature flavors more than pumpkin, and fortunately for all of us, pumpkin is actually good for you! Low in calories and high in vitamin A and fiber, it can be added to a variety of both savory and sweet dishes.
The muffins turned out even better than I thought they would! However, if you are looking for a dense muffin, these won’t be it. They have more of a cake-like consistency, hence “cake muffins.” I’m thinking of coining the term “cuffin” right now…

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You could even use this recipe to create a loaf or a cake. Just adjust baking time accordingly.
Oh and each muffin is only 100 calories but packs 5 grams of protein with only 11 carbs, three of which are fiber, making this muffin perfect for any time of the day.
Have it for breakfast, a snack, dessert, or even served with lunch/dinner in place of cornbread in your meal.

Ingredients:
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I ended up just using 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon each nutmeg and cardamom)
2 tablespoons granulated stevia (or honey/agave/maple syrup)
2 tablespoons honey/agave/maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
¾ cup pure pumpkin puree
⅓ cup light canned coconut milk
⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce

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Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan with coconut oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, stevia, and salt.
Add in each of the wet ingredients and stir until well incorporated
Pour the batter into a muffin tin to create 12 individual muffins.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Once removing muffins from the oven, let it sit until cool before removing from pan and slicing.

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To create a delicious yet healthy protein frosting, combine a tablespoon of plain/vanilla Greek yogurt with a touch of honey and a dash of cinnamon. This will create enough frosting for 1 muffin so multiply accordingly!

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Peanut Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles)

DSCN4375I truly don’t understand how people don’t like peanut butter. I mean I get how you can be allergic and all but in that case you got to at least love the smell right? I’d seriously EpiPen myself all day if I were allergic to nuts. Is there a daily limit on that kind of thing?
Peanut butter can be great for you too, it’s just that normally peanut noodles are a nutritional nightmare. Enjoying some in moderation is always an option, but with this recipe I can eat a GIANT portion any time of the week. All the while I won’t have to wear sweatpants to work, because we all know those are reserved for just Fridays.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.27.05 PM

Serves 2 or 1…

Ingredients:
Sauce-
3 tablespoons peanut flour/powdered peanut butter
1 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons tamari/braggs liquid aminos
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon coconut/rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Juice from 1/4 a lime (about 1/2 tablespoon)
½ teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons Siracha or hot sauce of choice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon coconut sugar or alternative sweetener

Base-
2 medium-large zucchinis
1 large carrot
½ cup sliced mushrooms
1-2 scallions
1 tablespoon chopped peanuts
Optional-
1 cup edamame or precooked shrimp
1 cup shredded cabbage (for even more bulk)

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Directions:
Whisk together all sauce ingredients into a small saucepan.
Spiralize zucchinis and cut strands with knife or kitchen shears so you don’t have any overly long pieces. Slice carrot and mushrooms and add them to your veggie pile.
In a large sauce pan, heat 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Once heated, add your zucchini, carrots, mushrooms and optional shredded cabbage. After one minute, add your precooked and thawed edamame or shrimp. Stir around until vegetables are soft and protein is heated through.
Once finished, remove veggie mixture with slotted spoon. Pat with paper towel to remove extra moisture (so sauce doesn’t get too runny).
Meanwhile, heat up your peanut sauce in the saucepan for ~1 minute. You could alternatively heat your sauce in the microwave as well.
To assemble, simply pour sauce onto your zucchini noodles and toss to coat.

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Garnish with chopped scallions
Remove from heat and top with scallions and chopped peanuts.

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This one is especially fun to eat with chopsticks 🙂

Egg Crust Pizza

All kids love pizza, well, except for me. I never really loved pizza growing up. (Feel free to gasp now.) At birthday parties, I would eat a slice because that was what was being served, but what I was really excited for would be the ice cream cake- and that still hasn’t changed.
Many years have passed since my bowling and movie party days, and somewhere in between I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Knowing that I couldn’t have pizza for some reason made me desire it more. I started to create my own modified versions of pizza and as I was making an omelet one day it hit me, why not use eggs as my base?!DSCN4442

This healthified pizza is packed with protein, low in carbs, and totally customizable. It is super easy to whip up for a quick dinner/lunch any time of the week and uses items you probably already have hanging out in your fridge and pantry.
Oh and it’s delicious and 100% male approved.

Ingredients:
1 whole egg plus ½ cup egg whites or ¾ cup just egg whites
¼ teaspoon each of garlic powder, oregano & dried basil
1 tablespoon Parmesan/nutritional yeast
Salt & pepper to taste
3 tablespoons marina or my green marinara (could swap for pesto)
1-2 tablespoons shredded cheese of choice/nutritional yeast
¼ cup spinach/any other leafy green
Chopped vegetables or other add ons of choice

Directions:
Whisk together eggs with spices and Parmesan/nutritional yeast.

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Heat a medium saute pan over a medium flame and cover with olive oil spray. Once thoroughly heated, pour eggs into the pan.
As if making an omelet, use a spatula to to push cooked edges towards the center while allowing the uncooked eggs to move outwards.

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When the eggs are almost cooked, top the egg crust with your sauce cheese, spinach and other veggies of choice.
Cover pan with a lid for about 1 minute until cheese melts and spinach wilts.

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Slice up as you would a normal pizza and munch away!

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Tofu Croutons

Tofu is a versatile and great source of plant protein. I don’t mind eating plain, straight out of the container, but I recognize for most that that’s just tasteless and plain weird.
Having a half of a container of tofu left after making my crispy tofu tacos, I decided to get creative. I got the tofu into small bits, covered them with some spices and baked them to crisp perfection to create what I like to call tofu “croutons.”
These little nuggets of crunchy heaven are totally customizable. Want them spicy? Add some cayenne or some hot sauce. Use any dried herbs on hand to accompany the dish you’re throwing them on top of. You can even make sweet versions using cinnamon and sugar.
Now you’re thinking, what the heck am I supposed to do with these things? While they can be used for traditional crouton application like a salad and or soup like my caramelized onion and roasted red pepper soup, making them sweet means they’re a great topping for yogurt, oatmeal and more.

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Instead of nutritionally deprived bread croutons, these babies are low carb and high protein. They even make a great on the go snack- just don’t blame me for any strange looks you end up getting.

Ingredients:
½ package non-GMO extra firm tofu
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil spray
Spices of choice, here I used:
¼ teaspoon each of onion powder, cumin & paprika

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350F.

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Cut tofu into ¼ inch cubes. In separate bowl combine balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and remaining spices. Place tofu in bowl and use a large spoon to stir to thoroughly coat the tofu without breaking up the cubes.
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Spray sheet pan with olive oil spray and place tofu on the pan. Spread tofu evenly on the pan and then use the olive oil spray again to coat the top of the tofu.
Next, place the tofu in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Finally, broil for 6-8 minutes.

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Buffed Up Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Butter

Sometimes I think I’m an evil little genius. Then I realize I’m actually making something that’s good for me, so I’m actually not so evil at all!
I’ll let myself keep the “little genius” title though because that makes me reminisce to Baby Geniuses, and I thoroughly enjoy that comparison.

Okay so back to the good stuff.
Nut butters are great and can be a good source of protein but what if you could have one that has Doubledouble the protein for even fewer calories plus extra fiber!
You said whaaat???
Yes, you heard me right. And it is amazingly smooth and incredibly delicious without the addition of sugar or salt.
I apologize in advance for your desire to eat the entire darn thing.

Dipping pretzel in nut butterMakes 1 cup of Nut Butter

Ingredients:
1 cup raw almonds
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 serving vanilla protein powder of choice (My top picks are organic Tera’s Whey or Vega One for a vegan option)
~20 drops of stevia or sweetener to taste
Optional: ½ teaspoon butter extract (which is actually vegan)

Blended up nut butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Place 1 cup almonds evenly on a baking sheet and place into the heated oven. Roast for ~15 minutes, stirring them around halfway through.
Once almonds have cooled, place all ingredients except for the whey protein into a blender or food processor. You’ll probably have to stop and scrape the sides a few times to get the entire mixture fully smooth.
Finally, add the protein powder and blend again until fully incorporated.

Enjoy with anything you would use normal nut butter for!

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Crustless Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Fall is just around the corner which is the perfect excuse to eat pumpkin, despite the fact I find a way to add it into everything year-round anyways. Coming home from work the other day, I was craving something sweet but didn’t want to spoil my appetite for dinner.
At this point the idea for crustless pumpkin cheesecakes was born.

I decided to fully embrace the stereotype that girls like mini things and made 24 adorable baby cheesecakes. While these were perfectly bite sized treats, you could easily use larger muffin tins or even a large cheesecake tin and cut the cheesecake up into individual slices.

While I certainly don’t restrict myself from indulging in treats, it’s always nice to have a healthier, yet still tasty option. Oh and did I mention you can eat this entire recipe for under 240 calories and 35 grams of protein? Thought you may wanna know.
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Ingredients:

½ cup fat free cottage cheese
½ cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup pumpkin puree (be sure not to buy pumpkin pie mix!)
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons milk of choice (I used cashew)
Sweetener to taste (I used 15 drops of liquid stevia)
3 tablespoons liquid egg whites

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F.
Place all your ingredients but the liquid egg whites into a blender and blend until smooth.
Add in your egg whites and blend again until combined.crustless cheesecake muffins unbaked
Pour mixture into silicone molds or tin greased with coconut oil and place them in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Once tops are lightly golden brown, remove from oven and let cool.

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For best results, place the cheesecakes  into the fridge for at least an hour to allow them to fully set. Enjoy topped with an extra sprinkling of cinnamon.

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Dirty Chai Protein Shake

Now that my routine has changed from getting up for 10am classes to waking up at 6am to run before work, I’ve made some adjustments to my morning routine. I’m never in the mood for a big breakfast, especially when it’s early in the morning. However, after a run I need some fuel to start my day so I came up with this delicious shake to get a jolt of caffeine and protein.

Perfect for an on the go snack, breakfast, pre-workout jolt or as a magic potion to transform yourself into a morning person.

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Makes 1 shake

Ingredients:
1 cup cashew milk
1 cup brewed and chilled chai tea
1/2 cup cold brew or chilled coffee/shot of espresso- check out my cold brew coffee how to here  !
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (my favorites are organic Tera’s Whey or Vega OneVega One for a vegan option)
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Sweetener of choice to taste

Directions:
Put everything into a mason jar and shake (preferably with the top on)- and that’s it!
If you’re worried about protein powder clumpage you could alternatively blend it for 20-30 seconds in a blender.

unmixed dirty protein chai shaking dirty protein chai

For a frozen blended treat, another option is to make the mixture sans cashew milk and freeze in an ice cube tray. Place it in the freezer and once it’s frozen, pop the cubes into the blender and add cashew milk until you’ve reached a desired consistency.